Sunday, January 1, 2017

Letting go, saying Yes, and choosing wisely

Last year at this time I found myself slip-sliding into 2016 with almost none of the thought and intention that I usually had brought to the process each year. A couple of months in, I could see where the year was taking me, so I declared a Word of the Year and a general goal: this would be the year I divested myself of belongings, activities, attitudes, or goals that no longer served me well.

Some of that happened, and not by accident. I cleaned out closets and cabinets, tossing clothes I no longer needed. I leafed through and then tossed large boxes of publications and documents that once were valued evidence of my work or markers of battles won and lost. (There is plenty more clearing to do!)

After a long and frustrating struggle to achieve a smooth transition to new leadership for our 28-year commitment to save and operate a historic carousel, Peter and I announced our planned departure--and then quit in November a few months sooner than we'd planned. It was the best, most freeing decision we've ever made, and we believe it cleared the way for new leaders to step forward in ways they weren't doing while we were still in place.

While we were at it, we finally pulled the plug on our long-standing support for St. Paul Saints minor-league baseball. Charter season-ticket holders since 1993, we were no longer enjoying the experience as we once had, and neither were our kids and grandkids. We'd already cut down on the number of games we attended (from 50 to 6 or 8). Next year we'll go to 2 games followed by fireworks.

Quicker than I'd expected, new priorities rushed in to fill the void. And it turns out that life brought them to me, without my planning for them. All I had to do was say Yes.

This year I'm much more aware of my need to reflect and deliberate about my goals and interests. I'm already finding I'll be much more effective if I focus on a few rather than try to do them all. The coming of a new year--and all that it implies--makes me determined to choose wisely for this new stage of life.

I promise I'll be back soon to talk about it. Meanwhile I'd love to hear what's on your mind as we enter 2017.



Far Side of Fifty said...

Happy New Year Nancy and Peter too! You sound happy and content with your decisions. Sounds like you have made so big changes that were good for you!
My word for the year is Ongoing as I have so many ongoing projects, nothing huge just projects I would like to finish up! Always nice to see a blog from you! :)

joeh said...

Giving up clutter and dropping commitments. I call that addition by subtraction.

Jeanie said...

Happy New Year! And I think those are wonderful goals. I am trying to let go of things I no longer want, need, use or love. Easier said than done! And more focus on my painting again, perhaps boosting the Gypsy Caravan a little bit and intend to enjoy many wonderful books. I may even follow in your footsteps and take tap if I can find a good teacher. We shall see. A clean slate -- how perfect!

Pauline Persing said...

It's good to hear from you. Like you I have been in the midst of change. Hope to hear from you more often this year.

DJan said...

As long as you don't decide to stop blogging, I'll be happy. I love hearing from you whenever it happens. My word for the year is "willingness." I am willing to let it work its magic on me, and I am willing to go or stay, willing to get involved. I like the idea of cleaning out the clutter. I am willing to do that, too. :-)

troutbirder said...

Best wishes for 2017,Nancy. For me downsizing unneeded things is an ongoing project. Each new year of my "caretaker" role requires new skills & resources. For that I try to look ahead & then keep on truckin...:)

troutbirder said...

Best wishes for 2017,Nancy. For me downsizing unneeded things is an ongoing project. Each new year of my "caretaker" role requires new skills & resources. For that I try to look ahead & then keep on truckin...:)

Daughter Number Three said...

I so very much recognize the need to let go of the boxes of things that seemed so important. The power of those objects feels as if it's inherent in them but is in our brains. (If only some archivist somewhere were interested in them...)

I am attempting to figure out how to fit my energy into state or nation-scale issues, which is probably impossible, but still necessary in this new year and new world order.

Deb Shucka said...

Thank you for the reminder that clearing out what no longer serves creates space for new things just waiting in the wings for attention and intention. I felt freer just reading about your new freedoms. Now I just need to go clean out a closet or two.

Sally Wessely said...

As I enter the new year, and we are already almost two weeks into it, I, like you, and scaling down. I find as I get older I just don't want so much stuff around. I will have a big announcement soon myself.

Thanks for being such a bright and articulate and blissed-out grandmother. You have inspired me often. I'd love to go to lunch. I think we'd pick up where we left off on either FB or blogging. It is such an interesting world in which we live.

J said...

I think you made good decisions and I can tell by the tone of your writing that you feel relaxed and happy about them all!
I decided late last fall that I was going to make finishing a hand stitched quilt a priority project. It had been to hard to settle into a chair to work on it while flying around trying to accomplish all kinds of unneeded "busy work." The quilt is coming along nicely and I am so glad I decided to put this peaceful pursuit at the top of my list!
I hope the carousel project is still on track without your leadership. That is really special.


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